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    Old 03-20-2018, 05:36 AM   #1
    midwesthills's Avatar
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    Connected digestive and mental health issues?

    I'm looking for guidance as to how to get to the bottom of a chain of health problems I've experienced over the past several years. I'm a 42 year old man in otherwise very good health (active, good diet most of the time, not overweight).

    In my late 30s, I started to develop digestive issues. The symptoms included bloating, gas, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. After seeing several specialists, the best advice I received was that if you don't feel good after you eat something, don't eat it. I changed my diet significantly (not much bread, more focus on meat and veggies) and most of the symptoms subsided

    A couple of years ago, I went through a severely stressful period of time which I believe led me to a state of depression. I've been making lifestyle changes and talking with a therapist over the past year and feel better, though the depression still lingers along with occasional anxiety.

    The lingering effects include:
    • Catastrophic thinking
    • Difficulty with speech at time (slight slurring / difficulty enunciating)
    • Brain fog / inability to hold focus

    I've also noticed that when I drink alcohol now, rather than feeling happy and talkative, it makes me feel bloated, tired, and I withdraw socially. Note: I do not drink often, but think the difference of how alcohol effects me is odd.

    At this point, I feel like I have addressed the psychological side of my mental health issues but am wondering if there is a connection between the digestive issues that I've had for years and these lingering mental issues. Any help in terms of sites / books to read, specialists to seek out, or common experiences would be most welcome.

    Thank you!

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    Old 03-20-2018, 09:16 AM   #2
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    Re: Connected digestive and mental health issues?

    Dear midwesthills,

    I agree that what we take into the body has a significant effect. It's good to take a very clear look at what goes into the body. I was never much into the taste of alcohol, but had become a sugar addict, which is not really different than being an alcoholic. It was very helpful to me to learn that alcohol is nothing more than heavily concentrated sugar/carbs. It is highly addictive and has no food value whatsoever, and even if we never get drunk, it is a highly concentrated carb. As we age, the body handles concentrated carbs less and less well, and drinking can be a pastime that interferes with paying attention to doing what is healthy for the body.

    Excess carbs of any source are an extreme downer to the brain and body cells, making them sluggish. Only muscle burns carbs, so even if you are not overweight, alcohol interferes with the body and brain's ability to become healthy.

    I recommend that you stop all alcohol use as soon as possible. It is heavily concentrated sugar and since it is psychologically and physically addictive cutting that out may be difficult at first. Think about it...would you drink from the syrup bottle? When you drink alcohol you may as well be drinking from the syrup bottle. It has the same effect on the body. Maybe down the road you can tolerate a small amount of wine on an occasion. But, considering the damage, why risk it?

    You can help build your body back to health with overthecounter probiotics and consumption of a variety of dark colored fresh or steamed fruit and vegetables, cutting white foods like breads, white rice, and desserts out or at least way back. You can buy bags of dark colored fresh and/or frozen fruit and vegetables and microwave them to eat even for snacks, and we can eat all we want of that with no bad effects. They help the digestive tract to rebalance.

    Be careful what kind of protein you eat, too, and cut back or stop eating fatty foods like processed meats. Use real foods like real butter and cold-pressed olive oil, no margarine. Eat the drier cheeses, if any.

    The fact that creamy, sugary, fatty foods make us drowsy and upset the digestive process is an indicator that they aren't healthy and should be taken in a great deal of moderation if at all.

    I am preaching to my self as well. The older we get the less the body can handle abuse. Get the body healthy and it will help the brain and mind become healthier. I hope you will give this a try.
    ~ YaYa ~

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